Minnesota Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom tweaked his groin making a save early in last night’s game against the Montreal Canadiens. It was already clear that it wouldn’t be an easy situation, but NHL.com’s Brian Hedger tracked down a more specific estimate. The Wild revealed that the issue will likely sideline him for two to four weeks.
Backstrom’s loss looks to be backup Josh Harding’s gain. A two week window could give him 6-7 starts while a month-long reading could provide as many as 15 opportunities.
Naturally, that would assume that Harding would play each game, which is far from a guarantee. That being said, head coach Mike Yeo points out that there aren’t many back-to-back games* so new backup Matt Hackett might not see much time.
The Wild currently sit at 12th place in the West, trailing the eighth-ranked Dallas Stars by five points (71 to 66). It certainly doesn’t look like a promising situation for Minnesota, although Harding could profoundly improve his value on the free agent market if he can help them turn things around.
* – The Wild have to back-to-back sets, to be exact:
- March 24 and 25 (at Buffalo, at Washington)
- March 31 and April 1 (vs. Los Angeles, at Chicago)